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Russia probe Special Counsel Robert Mueller reportedly impanels Washington grand jury

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is "ramping up" his probe into Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election by impaneling a grand jury in Washington, The Wall Street Journal reports. Federal prosecutors had previously impaneled a grand jury in Alexandria, Virginia, for their investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, but that probe has been absorbed by Mueller's team.

The D.C. location is closer to where Mueller's committee works and will more conveniently allow for subpoenaing documents or putting witnesses under oath. "This doesn't mean he is going to bring charges," former federal prosecutor Thomas Zeno told The Wall Street Journal, "but it shows he is very serious. He wouldn't do this if it were winding down." Special counsel to the president Ty Cobb said he hadn't known Mueller was using a new grand jury as such "matters are typically secret."

Stephen I. Vladeck, a law professor at the University of Texas, added: "This is yet a further sign that there is a long-term, large-scale series of prosecutions being contemplated and being pursued by the special counsel. If there was already a grand jury in Alexandria looking at Flynn, there would be no need to reinvent the wheel for the same guy. This suggests that the investigation is bigger and wider than Flynn, perhaps substantially so." Read the full report at The Wall Street Journal.